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Stories by TCF Recipients & Alumni

A Journey to What Matters- Kasaan Community Carving Program

Carving back time Project: Community Carving Program Grantee: Organized Village of Kasaan Story and photos from: Bethany Goodrich, Sustainable Southeast Partnership and Marina Anderson, Organized Village of Kasaan In the small village of Kasaan, Alaska is a carving shed nestled among trees and wildlife. […]
By |December 9th, 2019|A Journey to What Matters, Featured Posts, Project Grant|Comments Off on A Journey to What Matters- Kasaan Community Carving Program
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    A Journey to What Matters- Hoonah City Schools Dancing with Our Ancestors Project

A Journey to What Matters- Hoonah City Schools Dancing with Our Ancestors Project

Project: Hoonah City Schools Dancing with our Ancestors Grantee: Hoonah City Schools Story and photos from: Heather Powell During the Dancing with our Ancestors project students were blessed with the opportunity to connect with their culture in ways that included several different art forms, like […]
By |November 12th, 2019|A Journey to What Matters, Featured Posts, Project Grant|Comments Off on A Journey to What Matters- Hoonah City Schools Dancing with Our Ancestors Project
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    Heritage Project Grant- Connecting The RIVR with Alaska Native Youth

Heritage Project Grant- Connecting The RIVR with Alaska Native Youth

Connecting The RIVR (Rising Indigenous Voices Radio) with Alaska Native Youth By Angela Jenkins It is so important we keep doing what we are doing, producing The RIVR (Rising Indigenous Voices Radio) at therivr.net for the next generation. A capacity-building and audience development grant from The CIRI Foundation supported our work to get the stream and its outreach on a stronger footing. Our stream has come along in a time where this generation of artists are really expressing themselves and talking about their roots, trauma, culture, reviving old songs and making them modern. Our listeners hear that and they can relate. Growing up I know I did not have a media source that felt like it spoke directly to me. Working with Alaska Native Native youth is rewarding to me and participating at events like the CIRI C3 camp is particularly inspiring. It gives The RIVR one-on-one time to really reach the youth involved and talk about culture and expression. We always play a game that incorporates The RIVR streaming app like musical chairs, hot potato, and an exercise where the youth participants pick a traditional value out of a hat and have to rap, sing or write a poem about that value. Stream online at therivr.net Download The RIVR App
By |October 10th, 2019|Featured Posts, Heritage, Project Grant|Comments Off on Heritage Project Grant- Connecting The RIVR with Alaska Native Youth

A Journey to What Matters- Exploring Native Textile History

Exploring Native Textile History From Steve Henrikson, Alaska State Musem Curator The Alaska State Museum is preparing a large exhibit exploring the history of textiles developed over the past two centuries by Alaska Natives and First Nations of the Northwest Coast–primarily Tlingit, Haida and Tsimshian weavers. Six weavers, most representing these tribes, were selected to serve as project advisors, and in April 2019, met in Juneau to discuss the scope of the exhibition. Janice Criswell (Haida), Lily Hope (Tlingit), Lani Hotch (Tlingit), Evelyn Vanderhoop (Haida), Marie Oldfield (Tsimshian), along with Kay Parker and Steve Henrikson (ASM Curator) held two days of fruitful discussions concerning the topics to be covered in the exhibit (opening May 2020) display, and a look at the “ravenstail” and “naaxein” (aka “Chilkat”) weavings in the museum collection. Since this was a rare opportunity for weavers to discuss the history and importance of their art, the proceedings were taped and transcribed to preserve the information for future generations of weavers. stories from project advisors I am one of a group of weavers who are acting as curators for the upcoming Chilkat and Ravenstail Weaving Exhibit that is planned for 2020 at the Alaska State Museum in Juneau. I am a weaver of both Chilkat and Ravenstail and I am a direct descendant of three generations of weavers, I am the fourth generation, and I am presently teaching my daughter who would make a 5th generation of weavers in my family. Story from Lani Hotch I'm a Ravenstail Weaver Story from Kay Field Parker I first saw Ravenstail Weaving while taking a two week basketry class from Delores Churchill at the University of Alaska in Juneau. I was struggling along with my basket and noticed the class across the hall was doing a kind of finger twining that I had never seen before. As the weeks progressed, their weavings became more beautiful, and my basket, well, it was coming along. By the end of the class, I was in love with the patterns the weavers “across the hall” had woven and anxious for a class. It took two years before I could take a Ravenstail class and during that time, “The Raven’s Tail” by Cheryl Samuel was my bedside book. When my chance to learn Ravenstail weaving finally came, I hit the ground running- weaving every educational project I could find and every pattern that I could graph. I was then able to participate in the weaving of the “Hands Across Time” robe at the Alaska State Museum. And so began my weaving story. Ravenstail weaving has been my passion, pastime and entertainment for the past 29 years. I am very excited about the upcoming Northwest Coast Weaving Exhibit in Juneau which will highlight the amazing art forms known as Chilkat and Ravenstail weaving. Co-Curating Unique Vision Story from Evelyn Vanderhoop The genre of Northwest coast textiles has been underrepresented in museum exhibitions as well as in manuscript. I feel a comprehensive exhibit of ancient robes as well as contemporary textiles together with clan stories, research and technique demonstrations can give a fuller understanding of this art that was and still is very important to the cultural practices of the three major groups in Southeast Alaska; Tlingit, Haida and Tsimshian.As the Haida representative within the co-curator team, I bring my research, weaving and teaching to this exhibit and with the other curators we will be able to make distinctions that are unique to our perspective groups. Though this manner of curating I feel this future exhibit will be uniquely informative to weavers, future weavers and the interested public.
By |September 11th, 2019|A Journey to What Matters, Featured Posts|Comments Off on A Journey to What Matters- Exploring Native Textile History

TCF Scholarship Recipient- Lauren Sanford

My Journey to Becoming a Speech Pathologist Story and Photo from: Lauren Sanford​ My name is Lauren Sanford and I was born and raised in Washington State. My mom was born and raised in Fairbanks, and has taught me to love and appreciate my Alaska Native heritage through educating me about my great grandmother, a strong Iñupiaq woman who served Alaska during World War II and ran her own dog team. Hearing stories like her’s inspired me to pursue a career where I will be able to serve and make a difference in others’ lives as a speech pathologist. The CIRI Foundation has been a large contributor to my journey to becoming a speech pathologist. I attended Baylor University in Texas for four years of undergraduate studies in the speech pathology department, and it would not have been possible without the generous funding from TCF, all four years. Currently, I am pursuing my Master’s in speech language pathology at Washington State University and earned an Annual Achievement Scholarship from The CIRI Foundation. This generous scholarship covered a large portion of my graduate tuition, allowing for minimal debt post grad, and the ability to pursue a career I love with much less stress. In the future, I plan to use my degree to serve rural areas of the Alaska Native community, where speech pathologists are greatly needed. I am so thankful to be a part of an Alaska Native community that supports continuing education and provides scholarships that make a huge difference in many students’ lives like myself!
By |August 27th, 2019|Featured Posts, TCF Recipient|Comments Off on TCF Scholarship Recipient- Lauren Sanford

TCF Scholarship Recipient- Peter DuBois

“An Inuit in Arizona” Story and Photo from: Peter DuBois I am Yupik Inuit, and a CIRI descendant of James and Mabel Larsen, my grandparents, original CIRI shareholders and my mother, Katherine DuBois, also an original CIRI shareholder. I am a PhD candidate in […]
By |August 1st, 2019|Featured Posts, TCF Recipient|Comments Off on TCF Scholarship Recipient- Peter DuBois

TCF Scholarship Recipient- Ayyu Qassataq

“Iḷisimmaaġiksuaq” Story and Photo from: Ayyu Qassataq Through my work and studies, I aspire to embody one of our traditional Iñupiaq characteristics: Iḷisimmaaġiksuaq – one who seeks knowledge and wisdom to become an informed and active contributor to their community. I strongly believe […]
By |July 31st, 2019|Featured Posts, TCF Recipient|Comments Off on TCF Scholarship Recipient- Ayyu Qassataq

Heritage Project Grant- 2019 Native Youth Olympics

2019 Native Youth Olympic Games Grantee: Cook Inlet Tribal CouncilStory by: Kelly Hurd CITC is deeply grateful for The CIRI Foundation’s continued support of the Native Youth Olympic Games. NYO is a celebration of traditional athletic games, culture and our state’s rich history. NYO builds tomorrow’s leaders–providing an incentive to stay in school, maintain good grades, and participate in a healthy lifestyle. Thank you for your continued partnership and support of Alaska’s youth! Alumni ・ Recipient ・ Participant Do you have a story to share? We love hearing from you!Sharing stories is an important part of Alaska Native culture and we are excited to hear about your experiences. Click here to share your story!
By |July 17th, 2019|Featured Posts, Heritage, Project Grant|Comments Off on Heritage Project Grant- 2019 Native Youth Olympics
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    A Journey to What Matters- Tanana Chief Conference Cultural Programs

A Journey to What Matters- Tanana Chief Conference Cultural Programs

Project: Tanana Chief Conference Cultural ProgramsGrantee: Tanana Chief ConferenceStory and photos from: Cindy Schumaker Keeping Traditions Alive: Skin Tanning Workshop There was a time when families in Koyukuk made a living trapping, skinning and selling wolf, beaver, marten, and muskrat hides. According to tribal administrator Loretta Lolnitz, many youth today have never seen a stretched pelt. Until recently that is. In May, children in Koyukuk had their eyes opened to raw hide stretching thanks to a four-day Cultural Traditions workshop funded by Tanana Chiefs Conference and The CIRI Foundation. Wolf, marten, and beaver furs were purchased from local trappers, and the rest of the skinning, stretching and tanning became a learning process for the community.“We’ve exposed youth to the way many of our Elders made their living,” said Lolnitz. “We’ve bridged that gap.”Experienced elders and trappers Dewain Dayton, Dale Kriska, Percy Lolnitz, Robert William Pilot and Benedict Jones led the teaching for more than 20 Koyukuk youth and adults. Eliza Jones told stories to teach respect for and care of the animals. Participant Percy Lolnitz said he felt like the workshop was an awakening of skills. “It reminded me of when I was a kid and watched the elders work on their catch,” said Lolnitz. “We must keep this way of life going.”As is traditional with Alaska Native hunters, the entire animal is used. The meat of the beaver is delicacy served first to Elders. The hides and fur become parkas, or trim for vests, gloves and slippers. The bones and claws become embellishments for clothes or jewelry. Nothing is wasted. #gallery-1 { margin: auto; } #gallery-1 .gallery-item { float: left; margin-top: 10px; text-align: center; width: 50%; } #gallery-1 img { border: 2px solid #cfcfcf; } #gallery-1 .gallery-caption { margin-left: 0; } /* see gallery_shortcode() in wp-includes/media.php */ #gallery-2 { margin: auto; } #gallery-2 .gallery-item { float: left; margin-top: 10px; text-align: center; width: 50%; } #gallery-2 img { border: 2px solid #cfcfcf; } #gallery-2 .gallery-caption { margin-left: 0; } /* see gallery_shortcode() in wp-includes/media.php */ Beaded Glove Workshop in the Village of Ruby The village of Ruby just got a bit more beautiful thanks to a workshop taught by Lena McCarty. In a series of nine classes in January and February, Lena patiently mentored 14 adult and youth students to make their own beaded gloves. Workshop organizer Victoria Honea said it was the first workshop like this in a long time, and they are anxious to do more in the future. The Beaded Glove workshop was a partnership between Tanana Chiefs Conference, The CIRI Foundation, and the Ruby Native Council in an effort to pass along traditional skills to a future generation, reclaim heritage, and share stories and laughter around the beading table! Cowhide Moccasin Workshop in the Village of Nikolai Every child in Nikolai is getting a new pair of cowhide moccasins! Master artist and skin sewer Oline Petruska is teaching all the students at the Top of the Kuskokwim School in Nikolai to make their own. Teachers, parents, and Elders are helping, and are making a few more pairs for Nikolai’s younger kids so no child will be left out. Workshop organizer Balassa Alexie said “Asking the parents to come in to help has been an added bonus because we’re getting families to do something traditional together.”The cowhide moccasin workshop is funded through a partnership between Tanana Chiefs Conference Cultural Program Department, The CIRI Foundation, and Nikolai Edzeno’ Tribal Council. How neat is that! #gallery-3 { margin: auto; } #gallery-3 .gallery-item { float: left; margin-top: 10px; text-align: center; width: 50%; } #gallery-3 img { border: 2px solid #cfcfcf; } #gallery-3 .gallery-caption { margin-left: 0; } /* see gallery_shortcode() in wp-includes/media.php */
By |June 25th, 2019|A Journey to What Matters, Featured Posts, Project Grant|Comments Off on A Journey to What Matters- Tanana Chief Conference Cultural Programs
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    A Journey to What Matters- Youth, Elder, Active Hunter and Gatherer – Food Sovereignty and Self Governance

A Journey to What Matters- Youth, Elder, Active Hunter and Gatherer – Food Sovereignty and Self Governance

Project: Youth, Elder, Active Hunter and Gatherer – Food Sovereignty and Self GovernanceGrantee: Inuit Circumpolar CouncilStory and photo from: Carolina BeheOn February 25th and 26th, 2019, Inuit from across Alaska and the Inuvialuit Settlement Region (ISR) came together in Bethel, Alaska to explore Inuit values surrounding our relationships to the environment and the collection and processing of food; Inuit management practices, policies and decision-making pathways; ways of moving toward Inuit Food Sovereignty. The workshop, Youth, Elder, and Active Hunter and Gatherer – Food Sovereignty and Self Governance, was hosted by the Inuit Circumpolar Council (ICC) Alaska.Often times the world does not consider art as part of Food Sovereignty. Within the Inuit world it is – people’s self and community-expression, the choice of materials to use in making art, the role that artists play within each community, the impact of colonialism on decisions and even people’s relationship to all that is around them is connected back to food sovereignty.With funding provided through The CIRI Foundation, we were able to work with two Inuit artists, Ryan Romer and Britt’Nee Brower, to create art pieces reflective of the discussions they heard during the workshop. Additionally, Britt’Nee facilitated a discussion about the relationships between art/material, culture, and food sovereignty. This discussion included points about the impact of the ivory and seal trade bans, spiritual respect for animals, and the influence of an imposed view of a dominate culture on Inuit concepts of art.We also encouraged the workshop participants to express themselves in any way they felt comfortable. For some this meant impromptu drumming, singing, and dancing during a break. For others, it meant drawing on a large piece of fabric laid out for all participants to paint on. At times, some participants chose to group around the fabric and draw while having a break-out discussion related to food sovereignty. There is a lot of freedom in moving away from tables and formal discussions to discussions where we are encouraged to speak from our hearts, from our truth. Winds of Change, 2019. Britt’Nee Kivliqtaruq BrowerAcrylic, Feathers, Beaver, White Fox, Wolf, Seal Skin, Antler and Glitter on Canvas Food Sovereignty and Art Story and Art by: Britt’Nee BrowerThis workshop was a great opportunity to see all of the commonalities, disconnects and changes in our communities that rely on subsistence hunting and gathering. I had the best experience exploring and discussing important topics with a new found family of individuals, as we adapt to all of the changes affecting our subsistence lifestyle and work together to actively pass down our indigenous knowledge as role models to the future generation.There is a story of a moon mask with a crescent moon shown alongside the dark side of the moon, or the unknown. In the unknown there are 4 feather spokes that represent the direction of the winds, and each feather represents a wish you would like to see happen. Surrounding the moon is a qupak design representing a drum, the heartbeat of the Inuit culture. The sun shines around the moon to represent the climate change affecting our subsistence calendars. I would like to make 4 wishes to help us adapt to all of the changes and unknowns occurring in the migration routes, hunting & gathering seasons, and weather. Each feather is a wish for helping us predict the weather, adapt to migration and route changes of the animals in the sky, the waters and the land.
By |June 21st, 2019|A Journey to What Matters, Featured Posts, Project Grant|Comments Off on A Journey to What Matters- Youth, Elder, Active Hunter and Gatherer – Food Sovereignty and Self Governance